Christopher "Chris" Frierson is a film director from Michigan who specializes in the formulation of documentary-styled productions and projects. Amongst his most notable works, Christopher was part of the directorial team behind the DMX: Don't Try to Understand documentary film that was released in November 2021. Frierson also helped produce the 2017 documentary The King which focused on the life of late Rock and Roll legend Elvis Presley. Chris also narrated and hosted a podcast titled "Freaknik" which discussed the origins, history, and reputation of the popular spring break festival Freaknik, which spanned across the early 80s and late 90s.
Frierson stated that he believes that documentaries are a powerful means of expression if used correctly and appropriately. "You have the opportunity to um... to share, ya know, people’s stories and undiscovered stories," and in sharing these stories, creators are also able to connect an array of different people through their productions. He also went on to add that this style of film helps people understand the lives of others and, essentially, walk a few hours in their shoes as the film unfolds. "Doc films are a great way for you to—to better understand other people who [...] don’t look, maybe talk, or [...] live like you do." he included.
Growing up in the suburbs of Michigan and being "old", as he playfully added in his response, Chris was aware of BMF because of how much its prominence had radiated throughout the state of Michigan. Chris also grew up listening to rap music, a genre that had many artists who frequently referenced Demetrius "Meech" Flenory and BMF themselves. Hence, Christopher had preliminary knowledge of the origins and expansion of the Flenory brothers and BMF. However, his knowledge did not surpass the tip of the iceberg. "I knew more of the folklore than [...] the truths," he explained.
In addition to being a creator intrigued by the origin of stories, Chris favors the city of Atlanta, Georgia, and has roots in the city of Detroit, Michigan. For Frierson, there could not have been a better project for him to take up! Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Frierson was compelled to take this series on to help others see past the beginning of BMF. The Best Music Film Grammy Nominee further elucidated that "there’s a lot of very um... just [...] on paper, sexy elements to this particular story because it's hip-hop, its true crime—it’s all these other things. But when you sort of dig a little bit deeper, um... it’s just like an interesting [...] perverse American Dream story."
According to Frierson, setting and conducting interviews with Demetrius Flenory and the remaining participants was not as challenging as one would think. However, one of the greatest challenges Chris faced during the construction and production of this series was ensuring that they were not glorifying the story to viewers, which can be a very thin line. One of the ways this was combatted was by ensuring that they did not leave any of the negative outcomes of the "business that they were engaged in." Many people, like Frierson, have only known the heydays, in addition to the millions of BMF series watchers who are just now being introduced to the Flenorys and BMF for the first time. Thus, it was especially important to highlight that, "behind all the fast cars, and all of the good things that they did…this is an empire built upon addition and—and pain. So how you balance that with the stuff that people like to see," was what made production tough.
Still, where there’s good, there will also be bad. Shortly put, there will still be people who will feel as though this docu-series is promoting or praising the choices and lifestyle of BMF. In response to any controversy or criticism of this nature, Frierson expressed that it is essential to keep some things in mind. "There’s a reason why the [...] series — in every episode — starts with a man who is clearly incarcerated," further stating that, "you hear it [...] in the phone calls, you hear Meech’s voice. I mean, we did that just as an example, just so you know that... whatever these people—whatever these guys were engaged in, ends in one of two places, and one of them is prison," the obvious other being death. Frierson went on to note that the story may be captivating and entertaining to hear about, and perhaps in different circumstances, the protagonist could have been "fortune five hundred, CEO guys," but the path they took ended in prison, something that Frierson does not believe is the life-long aspiration of many.
Chris articulated that he believes it is important to tune into the series because he feels it is important to learn about people who are different from you because it can be alluring. Going on to say that, though the outcome is undesirable, it is a variation of the American dream. An ideal that has been ingrained into the minds, goals, and plans of many Americans. "So, I think [...] it's interesting from an eighteen-year-old kid, black kid from the Bronx; to you know, a sixty-year-old white lady in Des Moines. There’s something you can find in this story that, that is relatable, even though it might not seem [...] that way." Overall, Chris Frierson believes that this series will not only enlighten viewers but also allow them the privilege to learn from the mistakes of others. He also hopes that people can also look at some of the elements in the BMF story that do have positive connotations, such as the way these teenage brothers had enough determination, will, and work ethic to force change in their lives.
Written by XBlaze Magazine
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